One for the day…..

I am sure today will be celebrated with countless paeans to friendship being shared to commemorate the day.  The first Sunday of this month acts as a notional reminder of the value of human bonding.

It was only fitting that the song of the day would be a tribute to friendship.

The movie Rockford was produced by Padmini Kolhapure and was based on a story, screenplay by Nagesh Kukunoor who directed it as well. The movie dealt with life of a teenaged boy in a boarding  school and his experiences there. The distraught boy bonds well with the PT Instructor (also acted by Nagesh Kukunoor) . The movie has a teenage romance thrown in for good measure as well as a wholly unnecessary diversion of a girl being forced to make an allegation of assault against the PT instructor by the Top Dog of the school (somewhat like in Vinod Khanna’s Imtihaan) The music is by a creative trio of  Shankar Ehsaan Loy. This song is by KK who sadly passed away way too young recently, with a bit of backing vocals by Leslie Lewis. The lyrics are by Mehboob.

यारों दोस्ती बड़ी ही हसीन है
ये ना हो तो क्या फिर, बोलो ये ज़िन्दगी है
कोई तो हो राज़दार
बेगरज तेरा हो यार
कोई तो हो राज़दार

यारों मोहब्बत ही तो बन्दगी है
ये ना हो तो क्या फिर, बोलो ये ज़िन्दगी है
कोई तो दिलबर हो यार
जिसको तुझसे हो प्यार
कोई तो दिलबर हो यार

तेरी हर एक, बुराई पे, डांटे वो दोस्त
गम की हो धूप, तो साया बने, तेरा वो दोस्त
नाचे भी वो तेरी ख़ुशी में
अरे यारों दोस्ती…

तनमन करे, तुझपे फ़िदा, महबूब वो
पलकों पे जो, रखे तुझे, महबूब वो
जिसकी वफ़ा, तेरे लिए हो
अरे यारों मोहब्बत…

Here’s to you, all my friends. Have a wonderful day today and join me at 1120 am tomorrow for the next program on AIR Delhi FM Gold. I’ll be on that station on 8th, 15th and 22nd August.

Friendship Introspection

बस यूँही……

The first Sunday of August is celebrated as the notional day to remind us of the value of friends and friendship, valuable assets to be nurtured and cherished.
I am reminded of William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 104
Sonnet 104, William Shakespeare

To me, fair friend, you never can be old (Sonnet 104)
William Shakespeare – 1564-1616


To me, fair friend, you never can be old,
For as you were when first your eye I ey’d,
Such seems your beauty still. Three winters cold,
Have from the forests shook three summers’ pride,
Three beauteous springs to yellow autumn turn’d,
In process of the seasons have I seen,
Three April perfumes in three hot Junes burn’d,
Since first I saw you fresh, which yet are green.
Ah! yet doth beauty like a dial-hand,
Steal from his figure, and no pace perceiv’d;
So your sweet hue, which methinks still doth stand,
Hath motion, and mine eye may be deceiv’d:
    For fear of which, hear this thou age unbred:
    Ere you were born was beauty’s summer dead.


The overwhelming desire to rest….

I’ve always loved K J Yesudas. Admittedly he has always had a voice different in its tonal quality than the reigning Gods of Bollywood, but the cultural cartel of Bollywood always steered clear of genuine talent and promoted a cosy club and coterie where personal equations and even sycophancy ( & I am not looking at the seamier, darker, underbelly) ruled the roost.

Bappi Lahiri put it best when he said this about the great man in an interview “Yesudas’ voice is touched by God. After Kishoreda, he was another singer who brought out the best in me. He is a yogi, a mystic who lives for music. He takes your tunes to another level. And his note is perfect, you can rely on him to deliver it right the first time. Working with him made me touch base with my melodious side. He is vastly under-utilised in Hindi films. I wish Hindi film composers of today realise his genius and offer him assignments.”

Ravindra Jain always said that if he were to be reborn with vision, the first person he would like to see would be none other than Yesudas.

Despite his towering stature in Malayalam devotional (& other forms) of music, Yesudas was, pretty much like SPB treated very very unfairly by the Bollywood biggies, even before D Company took it over.

Look at this divine melody. Just one from a wonderful movie, Alaap. Produced by N C Sippy and Hrishikesh Mukherjee, and directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee himself, it had one of the best musical scores I’ve heard in the 70s from the genius Bollywood purposely chose to ignore, because they, the music factories that mass produced and marketed mediocrity were undoubtedly fearful of his considerable skills and felt his genius would not just eclipse them if allowed to express itself fully, so the conspiring coterie ensured he got miniscule opportunity. But Jaidev Verma, broke through and shone through the smokescreen like the summer sun and dazzled everyone with his sheer class and brilliance.

The movie has one of Om Prakash’s best roles of a long and extremely impressive career and a great duel with Amitabh Bachchan. Rekha and Chhaya Devi (as the former courtesan Sarjubai Banaraswali) are fabulous. A K Hangal is expectedly good. Vijay Sharma and Lily Chakraborty are good in their roles as Amitabh’s older brother and bhabhi. (Both underutilized by Bollywood. I loved Lily Chakraborty in the few movies she got an opportunity to show her skills: who can forget Achanak?)

The lyrics for all songs were by Rahi Masoom Raza except the Saraswati Vandana which is a traditional prayer and this one, written by Harivansh Rai “Bachchan”

Yesudas is just sublime in this song which while imploring against the injustice meted out to him for his preference for music over law, never descends to being maudlin.

Have a wonderful weekend, folks, while I escape with my classmate to oxygenate myself.

Introspection Serenity Sunsets

बस यूँही……

The skies were suffused for a fleeting moment with an unreal celestial magical show just after sunset. I could feel the leash I once held so often tug at my hand insistently as my furry son grew impatient at my standing still admiring His painting skills. I could sense his presence, after all I was proximate to his forever resting place. He had, as was his habit, moved on ahead and seemed to stop and look back to see if I would follow him, which I definitely will, another day.

I was reminded of this sublime piece of verse:

Walking into a golden sky

By D I Harrison

Walking into a golden sky

When I start and walk alone,

Rain, dark storms folding about me,  

When I need  a person – you –

And you were just here,

Now departed,

I shall never walk alone,

For you are here, but just now

You’re at a different here,

And yet here the silver lark’s song is heard

(by us both).




The picture has been shot without any filters and has not in any way been postprocessed.

Bageshree Nocturnal melodies Serenity

A melody for the night….

I was contemplating for a few minutes after dinner and it struck me we were a few minutes away from 9 pm. In the Hindustani Classical Music thought, 9 pm to 12 midnight is the time for Bageshree. A beautiful raag,  it is meant to depict the emotion of a woman waiting for reunion with her lover. It is said to have been first rendered by Tansen, that myths claim sang for Akbar. Amongst Bollywood composers, it was the most liked and widely used by none other than C Ramchandra, who really found it easy to make unforgettable melodies out of. The maestros use it in Shadav-Sampoorna as well as Audav-Sampoorna forms.

I will start with a common version of a very popular ghazal by Ghulam Ali, based on the raag:

The ghazal by Rifat Sultan are fabulous.

बहारों को चमन याद आ गया है…… रिफ’अत सुलतान

बहारों को चमन याद आ गया है
मुझे वो गुल-बदन याद आ गया है

लचकती शाख़ ने जब सर उठाया
किसी का बाँकपन याद आ गया है

मिरी ख़ामोशियों पर हँसने वालो
मुझे वो कम-सुख़न याद आ गया है

तुम्हें मिल कर तो ऐ यज़्दाँ-परस्तो
ग़ुरूर-ए-अहरमन याद आ गया है

तिरी सूरत को जब देखा है मैं ने
उरूज-ए-फ़िक्र-ओ-फ़न याद आ गया है

किसी का ख़ूबसूरत शे’र सुन कर
तिरा लुत्फ़-ए-सुख़न याद आ गया है

मिले वो अजनबी बन कर तो ‘रिफ़अत’
ज़माने का चलन याद आ गया है

As is usual with these legendary giants of the genre, there are multiple, equally good renditions of varying lengths from live concerts, each one as enjoyable and exquisite as the other. Listen to this one, apparently the first time he sang it (in a concert, or could be, going by his narration, the first time ever!):

Listen to this sublime rendition by the maestro, my most favourite instrumentalist with this magical piece, by the man who made me believe in the divinity of music of Shrikrishna when he created mass hypnosis with the same. Maybe the Lord’s favourite son was sent to hypnotize our generations:

This one has Fazal Qureshi, Ustad Alla Rakha’s son on the tabla. All three of them are just fabulous and worthy claimants to the father’s throne, or shall I say, tabla?

Enjoy the three clips, folks. They will undoubtedly give me much joy and peace tonight. Stay healthy and happy

Rahul Dev Burman Romantic songs

Unforgettable song from a forgotten movie

Yesterday was Kishore Kumar‘s 93rd birthday. All my music loving friends expected me to post a song by him, but the social media were awash with scores if not hundreds of his well known (& also less known) melodies. As a result, I consciously held back my Kishore da post by 24 hours.

It is truly impossible to pick up just one song by such a prolific singer and an unforgettable, multifaceted genius for so many reasons. As it should be for another prolific and much loved unmistakable one, Rahuldev Dev Burman, for pretty much the same reasons: for both of these guys, you’re really spoilt for choice. I therefore decided to choose one which shows their oeuvre more. It would have to be a delicious song from an utterly forgettable movie. This was a great fit.

A self confessed , utterly amoral junkie who was foisted on the cine going public (by his doting parents and their D Gang coterie and family connections through his mother) cast opposite an actress who looked out of place in necking the guy, and an utterly inane storyline sums up Rocky.

Pancham is expectedly brilliant with a melody that’s typical of him. Kishore da let’s his full throated voice soar in this sublime song. Lata Mangeshkar is the perfect foil , the anchor on which voice rests and brings him back to terra firma.

Anand Bakshi wrote the lyrics, in his trademark style, again a very prolific craftsman who actually believed he was a good singer. Unfortunately others didn’t share his opinion of his vocal skills. After a couple of movies of agony, the lid came down firmly on his ( & the suffering audience) pain. D

An easily identified Kishoreda and Latadidi duet of brilliance, oozing romance from a movie you would need to drag me gagged and shackled to get me within a mile of. By the end of the movie, I suppose I would be ready to admit I’ve killed JFK and MLK Jr as well as Abe Lincoln.

Stay safe, folks as I am mentally in a different locale already, 24 hours ahead of my being physically transported there.

Environment Introspection Sunsets

बस यूँही………..

The Sun, undoubtedly tired from its daily trudge across the heavens, seemed happy to sink at the horizon for a well deserved rest for the night. It left behind a sky full of molten gold as a lone shrub silhouetted against it’s bright body bid it adieu….
While I, an awestruck spectator watching in wordless wonder, reached for a device to capture the moment in an expression of Carpe diem.
#Sunset_Photography ,
#Nature ,

Lata Mangeshkar Romantic songs

An immortal melody, recalled…

If I have to make a shortlist of songs I love the most, this one would always be there. A song with everything just right about it: the lyrics dripping sublime emotions, an absolutely divine and melodious composition by one of my most dear musicians, and an other-worldly heavenly singing by a legend who is now undoubtedly regaling Indra and his courtiers in the heavens ( even He had to wait 93 years to savour it) .

The movie Woh Kaun Thi! was made by Raj Khosla and produced by N N Sippy. Based on a story by Dhruv Chatterjee ( the story was mangled by the “Cockroach in my soup” look progenitor) & had the match-made-in-heaven : Madan Mohan and Raja Mehdi Ali Khan. The resounding success of the romantic-horror-thriller led to Raj Khosla making two more movies with the lady: Mera Saaya and Anita. The first of these did well despite change of the leading man as Madan Mohan remained. The last of the series flopped as there was a double whammy : LP was brought in and Facepalm returned.

The song runs through the movie like a theme song. An absolutely heavenly song that I never tire of hearing.

Starting off outside a cemetery, the song returns multiple times:

Sadhana Shivdasani looks beautiful in every frame. Thyroid disease ravaged her beauteous countenance almost beyond recognition and the poor lady hid behind large glasses after that.

Of all those who’ve attempted the song in the last 60 years, only one Lady comes close: Vibhavari Apte. Take a look:

The music director’s rendition is worth listening as well. With an added introduction by Madan Mohan himself.

Stay happy and healthy, folks. The rains are returning after a week long respite. Take care

Environment Inspiration Sunrise

बस यूँही……..

The rays of the dawn appeared on the mountains as if liquid gold had spread in the skies.
Clear skies and a gentle breeze with the sweet, repetitive sounds of the warblers made it a sublime experience and a privilege I was happy to be witness to. Daily , yet vastly underrated miracles.
#Sunrise ,
#Sunrise_Photography ,
#Beauty_Around_Us ,
#Joy_Of_Living ,

Human Tales Introspection

राष्ट्रकवि को नमन

मैं जब नौवीं कक्षा में था तब हमें हिंदी पढ़ाने के लिए आशा लखनपाल आया करती थी। वे जुहू में जानकी कुटीर में रहती थीं। उन्हींकी सिखाई यह कविता आज संयोगवश याद आ गई।

आज हिंदी भाषा के एक महाकवि की १३६ वीं वर्षगाँठ है। मैथिलीशरण गुप्त का इस धरा पर इसी दिन ईसवी सन १८८६ में अवतरण हुआ था। हिंदी भाषा मे खड़ी बोली में काव्यरचना कर उन्होंने उस काल के अन्य प्रसिद्ध कवियों से अलग स्थान बनाया था।

हिंदी साहित्य जगत के धूमकेतु, राष्ट्रीय चेतना के अग्रदूत, काव्य-शिरोमणि पद्मभूषण राष्ट्रकवि मैथिलीशरण गुप्तजी की १३६ वी जयंती पर उन्हें विनम्र नमन!

राष्ट्रीयता, बंधुत्व, मानवता, नारी सशक्तिकरण से ओत-प्रोत आपकी कालजयी चिरंजीवी, चिरंतन रचनाएं समाज एवं राष्ट्र-निर्माण हेतु इस देश के लिए सदैव प्रेरणा-स्त्रोत रहेगी…

अब इसी कविता को देखिए: यशोधरा नामसे रचित गुप्त जी का यह प्रसिद्ध प्रबंधकाव्य है। गुप्तजी ने इसकी रचना अपने अनुज सियारामशरण गुप्त जी के अनुरोध पर की थी। इस महाकाव्य में गौतम बुद्ध के गृहत्याग को केंद्र बनाकर गुप्तजी ने इसे राजकन्या यशोधरा के परिप्रेक्ष्य से कथन किया है।

इसमें गुप्तजी ने वर्णन किया है वो है राजकुमार सिद्धार्थ के द्वारा पत्नी एवं परिवार को त्यजने की घटना के पश्चात राजकुमारी यशोधरा अपनी सखी से उनके मन की पीड़ा की अभिव्यक्ति। पुरुषप्रधान समाज में रहकर हम हमेशा सिद्धार्थ के बारे में, उसके वैराग्य, त्याग और उनके ज्ञानप्राप्ति के बारे में ही सोचते हैं। लेकिन इसी घटना का दूसरा, राजकुमारी यशोधरा का  परिप्रेक्ष्य हमारे लिए सादर किया है। इस स्त्री पर हुए अपमान एवम इस पीड़िता के विचारों को सामने रखा है।

युवराज सिद्धार्थ जरा (वृद्धावस्था), रोग तथा मृत्यु के दर्शन से व्यथित हो कर पूर्ण सत्य तथा अमृत तत्व की खोज में अपनी सोयी हुई पत्नी युवराज्ञी यशोधरा तथा पुत्र राहुल को छोड़कर चुपके से निकल जाते हैं। (इसे महाभिनिष्क्रमण कहते हैं)

जागने के बाद युवराज्ञी को सिद्धार्थ के चले जाने की जानकारी मिलती है। अब उसका वार्तालाप अपनी सहेली के साथ इसी विषय के संबंध में जो होता है, उसे गुप्तजी ने कितना सुंदर दिखाया है, पढिये।


सखि, वे मुझसे कहकर जाते

सखि, वे मुझसे कहकर जाते,
कह, तो क्या मुझको वे अपनी पथ-बाधा ही पाते?

               मुझको बहुत उन्होंने माना
               फिर भी क्या पूरा पहचाना?
               मैंने मुख्य उसी को जाना
               जो वे मन में लाते।
सखि, वे मुझसे कहकर जाते।

               स्वयं सुसज्जित करके क्षण में,
               प्रियतम को, प्राणों के पण में,
               हमीं भेज देती हैं रण में –
               क्षात्र-धर्म के नाते।
सखि, वे मुझसे कहकर जाते।

               हुआ न यह भी भाग्य अभागा,
               किसपर विफल गर्व अब जागा?
               जिसने अपनाया था, त्यागा;
               रहे स्मरण ही आते!
सखि, वे मुझसे कहकर जाते।

               नयन उन्हें हैं निष्ठुर कहते,
               पर इनसे जो आँसू बहते,
               सदय हृदय वे कैसे सहते?
               गये तरस ही खाते!
सखि, वे मुझसे कहकर जाते।

               जायें, सिद्धि पावें वे सुख से,
               दुखी न हों इस जन के दुख से,
               उपालम्भ दूँ मैं किस मुख से?
               आज अधिक वे भाते!
सखि, वे मुझसे कहकर जाते।

               गये, लौट भी वे आवेंगे,
               कुछ अपूर्व-अनुपम लावेंगे,
               रोते प्राण उन्हें पावेंगे,
               पर क्या गाते-गाते?
सखि, वे मुझसे कहकर जाते।

– मैथिलीशरण गुप्त

सम्पूर्ण कविता में यशोधरा का सबसे महत्वपूर्ण आक्षेप सिद्धार्थ के उन्हें बिना बताए जाने से है। उसका कहना है कि उसके पति ने उसे समझा ही नहीं। उसकी सम्मतिसे चले जाते तो क्या अच्छा नहीं होता? लोगों में तरह तरह की बातें तो नहीं बनती। जब क्षत्रिय औरतें खुद पति को रण में भी शस्त्रों के साथ सुसज्जित कर खुशी से क्षात्र धर्म निभाते भेजती हैं तो सिद्धार्थ के पथ में वह बाधा क्यों बनती? यशोधरा के मनमें पति के छुप छुप कर जाने से जो ठेस पहुँची है उसीका यथार्थ वर्णन गुप्तजी ने किया है।

पुरुषप्रधान वैचारिकता से दूर होकर इस घटना को राजकन्या यशोधरा के परिप्रेक्ष्य से कथन करना और वह भी इतने स्वाभाविक, सरल शब्दोंमें , किसी साधारण कवि के बस की बात ही नहीं है।

गुप्त जी चेतना प्रवण कवि थे। उन्होंने अपनी कविताओं में उन नारियों को प्राधान्य दिया जो सदैव उपेक्षित व्यक्तित्व थीं। जैसे कैकेयी, मंथरा, उर्मिला और यशोधरा। यशोधरा भी एक अप्रतिम चरित्र प्रधान काव्य है। यशोधरा सिद्धार्थ के कृत्य को नारी जाति का अपमान मानती हैं।

गुप्तजी का स्थान हिंदी कवियों में निश्चित ही सर्वोच्च स्तर पर ही रहेगा। आज के युग में उपेक्षित नारियों के परिपेक्ष्य को उन्होंने एक नए, स्वस्थ दृष्टिकोण से प्रस्तुत किया है। अंतमें जब सिद्धार्थ गौतम बुद्ध बनकर पुनः यशोधरा से मिलने आते हैं तो वे अपने किये की क्षमा पत्नी से माँगते हैं। इस तरह से मैथिलीशरण गुप्त जी की ये श्रेष्ठ कृति है जो सामाजिक नवचेतना का प्रतीक है। ऐसे महान कवि को मेरा उनके जन्मदिवस पर विनम्र नमन।